Ice Planet Barbarians336
Ice Planet Barbarians336
Fall in love with the out-of-this-world romance between Georgie Carruthers, a human woman, and Vektal, an alien from another planet, in this expanded edition with bonus materials and an exclusive epilogue—in print only!
You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women—including me—on an ice planet.
We’re not equipped for life in this desolate winter wasteland. Since I’m the unofficial leader, I head out into the snow to look for help.
I find help all right. A big blue horned alien introduces himself in a rather . . . startling way. Vektal says that I'm his mate, his chosen female—and that the reason his chest is purring is because of my presence. He’ll help me and my people survive, but this poses a new problem.
If Vektal helps us survive, I’m not sure he’s going to want to let me go.
Related collections and offers
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Series:||Ice Planet Barbarians Series , #1|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Up until yesterday, I, Georgie Carruthers, never believed in aliens. Oh, sure, there were all kinds of possibilities out there in the universe, but if someone would have told me that little green men were hanging around Earth in flying saucers, just waiting to abduct people? I would have told them they were crazy.
But that was yesterday.
Today? Today's a very different sort of story.
I suppose it all started last night. It was pretty ordinary, overall. I came home after a long day of working the drive-thru teller window at the bank, nuked a Lean Cuisine, ate it while watching TV, and dozed off on the couch before stumbling to bed. Not exactly the life of the party, but hey. It was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays were all work, no play. I went to sleep, and from there, shit got weird.
My dreams were messed up. Not the usual losing teeth or naked in front of the class dreams. These were far more sinister. Dreams of loss and abandonment. Dreams of pain and cold white rooms. Dreams of walking in a tunnel and seeing an oncoming train. In that dream, I tried to lift my hand to shield me from the light.
Except when I went to raise my hand, I couldn't.
That had woken me up from my slumber. I squinted into the tiny light someone was shining in my eyes. Someone was . . . shining something in my eyes? I blinked, trying to focus, and realized that I wasn't dreaming at all. I wasn't home, either. I was . . . somewhere new.
Then the light clicked off and a bird chirped. I squinted, my eyes adjusting to the darkness, and I found myself surrounded by . . . things. Things with long black eyes and big heads and skinny pale arms. Little green men.
I'd screamed. I'd screamed bloody murder, actually.
One of the aliens tilted its head at me, and the bird chirping sound happened again, even though his mouth didn't move. Something hot and dry wrapped over my mouth, choking me, and a noxious scent filled my nostrils. Oh shit. Was I going to die? Frantically, I worked my jaw, trying to breathe even as the world got dark around me.
Then, I went back to sleep, dreaming of work. I always dreamed of work when I was stressed. For hours on end, angry banking clients yelled at me as I kept trying to tear open packs of twenties that wouldn't seem to come open. I'd try to count out change only to get distracted. Work dreams are the worst, usually, but this one was a relief. No trains. No aliens. Just banking. I could deal with banking.
And that brings me to . . . here.
I'm awake. Awake and not entirely sure where I am. My eyes slide open, and I gaze around me. It smells like I'm in a sewer, I can feel a wall behind me, and my body hurts all freaking over. My head feels blurry and slow, like all of me hasn't quite woken up yet. My limbs feel heavy. Drugged, I realize. Someone's drugged me.
Not someone. Something.
My breath quickens as a mental image of the dark-eyed aliens returns, and I look for them. Wherever I'm at, I'm alone.
I squint in the low light, trying to make out my surroundings. It seems to be a large, dark room. Faint orange light is emitted from small running tubes in the ceiling about twenty feet above. The walls themselves are black, and if I didn't know better, I'd say this looks like a cargo bay from some weird science fiction movie. On the wall opposite me, I count six large six-foot metal tubes lined up against the wall like lockers. Orange and green lights run up and down the sides of the tubes in a variety of squiggles and dots that might be some sort of alien writing. On the far wall, there's an oblong oval door. I can't get to the door, though, because I'm behind a metal grid of some kind.
And there's a god-awful smell. Actually, it's not just one smell, it's several of them. It's like a piss-shit-vomit-sweat cocktail, and it makes me gag. I try to cover my mouth with my hand, but my arm is slow to respond and all I manage to do is flail a little. Ugh.
I swing my drugged, heavy head, looking around the room. Actually, I'm not alone, now that I look around. There are others piled onto this side of the grid, bodies curled up and asleep. In the low light, I count seven, maybe eight forms about my size, huddled together like puppies. Seeing as how we're all on this side of the metal grid, I'm starting to suspect I'm in a jail cell of some kind.
Or a cage.
I guess if I have to be in a cage, it could be worse. There's room enough to stand, though not much more than that. At least there are no aliens in here with me. I want to panic, but I'm too out of it. This is like going to the dentist's office and getting a dose of laughing gas. I'm having a hard time focusing on anything.
My bare upper arm aches, and I sluggishly rub my fingers on it. There are several raised bumps on my arm that weren't there before, and I rub it harder, feeling something hard under the skin. What the fuck? I try to peer at it in the dark, but I can't see anything. Images of the aliens and the light shining in my eyes, the nightmares, the terror-it all rises, and I panic. A whimper escapes in my throat.
A hand touches my other arm. "Don't scream," a girl whispers.
I roll my too heavy head until I can look over at her. She's about my age, but blonde and thinner than me. Her hair's long and dirty, her eyes big in her lean face. She glances around the room, and then puts a finger to her lips in case I didn't understand her earlier warning.
Silence. Okay. Okay. I choke the cry rising in my throat and try to remain calm. I nod. Don't scream. Don't scream. I can keep my shit together. I can.
"You all right?"
"Yeaaah . . ." I slur, my mouth unable to form words. And . . . I drool all over myself. Lovely. I lift one of my heavy hands to swipe at my mouth. "Thorry-"
"You're okay," she says before I can panic again. Her voice is pitched low so as to not wake up the others. "We're all a bit hung over when we wake up. They drug everyone when they arrive. It'll wear off in a bit. I'm Liz."
"Georgie," I tell her, taking time to sound out my name properly. I rub my arm and point at it, at the strange bumps. "Whattth going on?"
"Well," Liz says, "you were abducted by aliens. But I guess that one was obvious, right?"
I smile wryly. Or I try to. I probably just end up drooling on myself again.
Liz shifts next to me. "Okay, let me see if I can hit the big highlights. Everyone else here?" She thumbs a gesture at the others piled into the cage, still sleeping. "They've been abducted, too. All Earth, most American. I think there's a Canadian in there. You twenty-two?"
"Yeah, I thought so. We all are. Let me also guess: live alone, not pregnant, no major health issues, no nearby family?"
"Because we're all in the same boat," Liz says, her tone bleak. "Every girl they pick up has the same story. Except for Megan. She was pregnant. Two months along, she said, and they vacuumed her out like it was no big deal." Liz shudders. "So I'm guessing that wherever they're taking us, they don't want pregnant girls. Just young and healthy."
Oh God. I swallow hard, fighting the urge to puke. There's really no place to do it, though I'm starting to suspect I know why the place smells like sewage. Liz's scent isn't exactly pleasant. "How . . . long you been heeere?"
"Me?" she asks. "Two weeks. Kira's been here the longest that we know of. She's the one with the earpiece."
I look around, but I don't see an earpiece on anyone in particular.
"It's a translator," Liz explains. "You'll see soon enough. I'm throwing too much at you at once, aren't I? Okay, let's try this again. See those tubes?" She points at the far wall, at the things that reminded me of oversized lockers. "Kira saw what was in them. She said they're more girls, just like us."
I gasp, the sound watery and overloud. More people?
Liz waves a hand at me, indicating we should be quiet, and I nod, rubbing those itchy bumps on my arm. She peers around to see if anyone's coming, and when no one appears, scoots even closer to me. I smell her body next to mine, her scent sweaty but human. "Yeah. So . . . they picked up Kira and she said they kept talking to her and she couldn't understand them, so they took her by the ear and more or less stapled in some sort of earpiece that translates things. But I guess they only had one of the suckers, so she has to translate for the rest of us."
"S-stapled?" I repeat, horrified at the thought.
"Yep. Tagged her like a cow." Liz grimaces. "Sorry, I'm from Oklahoma. I guess that visual doesn't bother me as much as you. Where you from?"
"Orlando." I'm not sure if my mouth will work around "Florida" without a spray of spit.
She nods. "We're kind of scattered all over the place. Anyhow, from what Kira's been able to pick up, our new friends are smugglers of some kind. Guess what they trade in?"
"Ayup." She points at the lockers again. "My guess is that they came here to pick up six, then had such a good run that they decided to squeeze a few more into the hold and make out like bandits or something. Kira says someone new pops up every other day or so. We figure they're going to pack us up like sardines and then sell us off to . . . I don't know. Wherever." She shudders. "I'm trying not to think that far ahead because I'll just start screaming, and you don't want to know what happens when you start screaming."
Oh no. "What-"
"You'll see soon enough," Liz says in a sick voice. "Just trust me. The skinny ones don't like noise. Remember that, okay?"
I remember her warning from before. "Okay. My . . . arm-"
"Little bumps on it? Yeah. They have a doctor of some kind-or a veterinarian, who knows. He shows up when we first get here, jabs a bunch of needles into us, sticks the silver thing in your skin, and leaves. I'm thinking it's kind of like when the vet shows up at the farm, inoculates the cows, and sticks a tracker in the ear. Except ours is in the arm. But there I go comparing us to cows again. I probably shouldn't, right?"
"Cuz . . . we . . . eat . . . cows," I mumble between drooling on myself.
Liz snorts. "Yeah, pretty much. But I think they're taking too much trouble with us to eat us. Unless we're a delicacy of some kind, which I wouldn't rule out. But . . . yeah."
"Yeah," I echo.
"Try and get some sleep if you can," Liz murmurs, patting my sore arm. "Sleeping's pretty much the only escape we have. Enjoy it."
That Liz, such an optimist. I wrap my arms around my chest and notice I'm still wearing the sleeveless shorty pajama set I'd gone to sleep in. It's not very warm or very concealing, and I absurdly wish that I'd gone to sleep in a big flannel pajama set.
And then I want to weep. To think I haven't dressed properly for alien abduction. My shoulders shake with mirth until mirth turns into tears. So yeah. Yesterday? I didn't believe in aliens. But that was yesterday.
I quietly weep myself back to sleep.
I figure out a few things over the next day on the spaceship.
I figure out that there's no toilet. It seems our captors hadn't thought through the whole stuff-the-hold-full-of-stolen-girls thing. We have to make do with a bucket in a corner, hence the sewage smell. Dignity? Gone. Nothing like waiting your turn on the poop bucket to make you lose what little humanity you have left.
I figure out that food is tiny little bricks that look like dried seaweed and taste like shit. We get two of those a day. Water? It's dispensed from a faucet of some kind that reminds me of a gerbil feeder set in the wall.
The welts on my arm go down over the next several hours, though one rough little bump remains. Through feeling it and peering at the other girls' arms, I'm guessing it's some sort of electronic tracking device they've implanted. Cattle tags, as Liz had called 'em. At the moment, I think it's pretty damn apt.
I figure out that there are two kinds of aliens. There are the fragile green ones that seem to be in charge and the basketball-headed ones that are security. I call them basketball heads not because they've got oversized brains, but because of the pebbly, hairless orangish texture of their skin. It looks bizarre above the collar of the gray bodysuits they wear day in and day out. The basketball heads are pretty horrific, no matter the stupid name. They have weird little bug eyes with an opaque eyelid over them and needle-like teeth. They have two fingers and a thumb instead of five, and they're tall. The little green men, the ones that make the bird noises? They're not more than three feet tall or so, and they rarely show up. The basketball heads, though? They're in the hold constantly.
Everyone's terrified of them, too.
I figure this out when I wake up the next morning-though I suppose it could be the afternoon-and see everyone else is awake. The last of the dopey meds seem to have worn off, and I stifle a yawn, blinking. I want to be silent, because silent is good. It takes me a moment to realize everyone's moving to the far side of the cage, huddling away from the bars. The hairs on the back of my neck rise, and I follow the others, heading to the back. I want to ask what's going on, but the moment I open my mouth, Liz shakes her head silently, her gaze fixed on something over my shoulder.
Explore More Items
Relive the sensuality, the romance, and the drama of Fifty Shades Freedthe love story that enthralled millions of readers around the worldthrough the thoughts, reflections, and dreams of
E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe.
Their scorching, sensual affair ended in
Lose yourself in Growl, the sinfully sexy paranormal shape-shifting romance anthology, headlined by New York Times bestselling author Eve Langlais!
In Legal Wolf's Mate, taking on a pro bono murder
Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today's hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!
Bearing His Name
Meeting his mate
Look for E L James’ passionate new
Experience the passion of Eva and Gideonin the first three intensely sensual Crossfire novels by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia DayBared to You, Reflected in You, and
He wears a mask . . . and he is following her. Staring at her like no other man since Colin. But Colin is dead and Amelia believes she will never again shiver with pleasure, never again sigh